Alex Gray on The SportsDesk – July 2013: “We’re not gonna save the world by surfing,” he said. It was a simple, matter of fact statement that Alex Gray, professional surfer and advocate of all things rad made, but it was potentially crushing to my romanticized relationship with catching waves.
I mean, really? We put so much importance on our beliefs about surfing; its virtues, our reverence for the ocean. And here’s a man who gets paid to surf reminding me that in the grand scheme of things it’s not that important. I know a wave a day makes me a better, happier, less awkward version of myself. But it’s not often I take a look at whether or not that same dedication is making a blind bit of difference to others.
The irony of Gray’s statement was that it was in a television interview promoting Surfing4aCure and the Everlasting Smiles Foundation in Los Angeles’ South Bay. We were there to showcase all the great things his career as a professional surfer has allowed him to do for others, celebrating a community of surfers in LA that had just come together to raise nearly $15,000 for pediatric cancer research, even an inspirational story many of us are all familiar with about a surfer named Nathan Gocke. But “we’re not gonna save the world by surfing.” Nope, not even a little bit.
I’m not going to put words in the big wave surfer’s mouth, but I will add what his statement made even more clear to me: The act of surfing, the selfish endeavor of catching a wave, paddling around, under or behind others; all the fuss we go through to get at least one before the sun sets on another day can and should be payed forward. It’s that simple.
As you watch our interview and stories, just remember that each wave is a gift and ask yourself how that gift can be payed forward from now on.
Surfing4aCure is accepting donations to be given in the name of 10 year old Abella Wyss for Pediatric Cancer Research. For those that can give, even a little bit, bringing surfers around the world together in support of any good cause can make a massive impact.
To donate, go to: everlastingsmilesfoundation.org